Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Was that chicken a Democrat or a Republican?

"If what we eat says a lot about who we are, it also says something about how we might vote," writes Kim Severson in today's New York Times, "What's for Dinner? The Pollster Wants to Know."

Severson quotes a number of political strategists about the correlation between food preferences and political views, finishing with these observations by a woman who feeds lots of people every day:

JoAnn Clevenger, the owner of the Upperline restaurant in New Orleans, doesn’t need a data set to identify how customers might vote. She just watches what they order.

“The Republicans are more formal and have more attention to structure when they eat,” she said. The classic example would be her delicate trout meunière.

Democrats tend to order earthy, down-home food with lots of juice for sopping, like Cane River country shrimp with garlic, bacon and mushrooms.

But lately she’s seen a lot of interest from both sides for her Oysters St. Claude. The oysters are coated with corn flour, gently fried and then slipped back into their shells and covered with an adventurous, Morrocan-style sauce seasoned with ground whole lemons, garlic, cayenne and paprika.

It’s the ultimate crossover dish, and she believes it’s popular this year because voters are being pulled in several directions.

“You have a respect and a yearning for the past,” she said, “but a feeling like you want something new and exciting that says let’s go all the way.”

So what did you have for dinner last night? We had brown rice topped with assorted vegetables stir-fried in sesame oil topped with little pieces of chicken braised in a coconut curry sauce. With this we drank a South African Gewürztraminer ("Some of the best grape soda I've ever tried," opined Mr. Neff). Dessert was a small bowl of fresh blackberries and a square of dark chocolate.

Read the article and then guess who we're going to vote for. Warning: we rarely vote for the same person.

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